Six members of the 17th Australian delegation under the Australia-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange visited Tokyo, Hyogo Prefecture, and Kyoto on March 1–7, 2008 for a series of wide-ranging discussions on shared domestic challenges and the future of Australia-Japan relations. While in Tokyo, they met with nearly 20 Diet members, including leaders from all three of the major parties, to compare notes on domestic political dynamics under new administrations in both countries and to discuss the state of bilateral relations in the framework of a rapidly evolving Asia. In these meetings—as well as in those with government officials, business executives, and journalists—particular focus was also placed on climate change and trade, especially the treatment of agricultural products in the upcoming negotiations for an Australia-Japan economic partnership agreement.
Outside of Tokyo, the delegation members spoke with Hyogo Vice Governor Tomio Sato and other local government officials about the implications of local government reform and consolidation. They also were briefed at the Asian Disaster Reduction Center on multinational cooperation in disaster response, took part in a session on local level environmental policy, and visited the historic city of Kyoto.
Liberal Party of Australia
PETER DUTTON MP, Federal Member for Dickson [Delegation Leader]
CORY BERNARDI, Senator for South Australia
JULIAN SHEEZEL, State Director and CEO, Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)
MELISSA PARKE MP, Federal Member for Fremantle
STIRLING HINCHLIFFE MP, Member for Stafford in the Queensland Legislative Assembly
Australian Political Exchange Council
GEOFF BARNETT, Secretariat Manager